"はい"

Translation:yes

June 5, 2017

73 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JustinDani475027

Why does the ha sound, sound like wa seperate but pronounced with a word sounds like ha. Is this duolingo or how it is supposed to sound


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/neverfox

The pronunciation differs depending on whether it's a particle (wa) or part of a word (ha).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_AkeLLa_

Very useful remark. But, it is not entirely correct in single use to define は as "ha" ... Or am I mistaken, and here is some more nuance?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thrawnmulus

は is Ha in the Syllabic family (Ha hi F[h]u he ho, ka ki ku ke ko, etc) and is pronounced as such in every word and context other than as a particle. In a different discussion someone told me that は was kept for the sentence topic marker and pronounced "wa" because it was easier than teaching an entire nation that had gotten used to using that character that way.

this reply may be outdated for the OP and other replies, but I thought I'd add my thoughts and necro.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theory

No idea if that's true, but language tends to evolve as a matter of convenience. I could see that happening, especially before the age of instant communication and near universal literacy. Convenience and tradition could also be why が is commonly pronounced as either "ga" or the nasal "nga," though it's subtler than the variation "ha/wa" of は.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CMcC1

I know this means yes but I had this question come up with to yes, one capitalized and one not. I assumed I should have picked both but got it wrong :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.Ice-Cream.

You can pick any yes, it doesn't matter if it's capitalized


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CMcC1

My problem is that it did not make it clear that what I was supposed to do :( I'm new to duolingo. I assumed that we were supposed to select both the capitalized word AND the uncaptilized word, so I ended up getting it wrong.

It would be better if we only saw one instance of the correct choice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

Duolingo teaches through student’s errors. The more mistakes you make the more you will learn. I often make mistakes intentionally so I will be shown tpa problem again. Duolingo will keep giving you a problem until you get it right. I add in a couple of xes to error out on purpose. I always do this whenever I am forced to do a peek. I want to only be credited for a right answer when I genuinely know the answer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kam-92

Thats smart. I would sometimes do this growing up when I spent a few years in France. I would ask so many questions to fully understand stuff instead of jist moving on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.Ice-Cream.

Yeah, I understand. Sometimes duolingo would give you the same answer twice, the difference being one is capitalized. I don't understand why they do it, but you only have to choose one of the two :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nolfinkol

I think the best way to avoid this is remembering that you're translating the sentence, not picking the correct word, so essentially you're telling Duolingo the phrase means "Yes yes". It could be a bit clearer and avoid putting both as options though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hydra454

I am not sure, but maybe it's because in some languages, like German, it does make a difference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Diefair

You will come across this regularly on the app; one word capitalized and one not. You will rhen have to read the sentence and see when the double word shows up to know which one is correct. In this instance, since it is a single word as if replying to something, it would be capitalized.

Example: "Yes, it is." vs "It is, yes."

I hope this helps.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/omegafolf

Anyone who's watch anime should know this word on sound alone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darkdudxd

If only i could remember how to write it XD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1022091010

I highly recommedn you learn how to write it first. There is a particular order of writing each letter. It really helps


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RaeishaGeo1

I found a website that also teaches Japanese and the brush strokes. It's called japanese-lesson.com You can also print out practice sheets for each writing style: hiragana, katakana, and kanji (probably misspelled that last one) but check it out


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tess0-0

If gou want to write it down just write it kn paper lol thats what i do. "あなたがそれを書き留めたいのであれば、それは私がやることです紙にそれを書き留めます笑 "


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShantelSan2

I came here because I seen the word ashes was also accepted. Also want to learn more about the meaning in the topic vs. Adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

Yep :)
灰 - Ash/ashes is also pronounced "hai"
And 灰色 "haiiro" means "grey" or lit. "Ash-Color"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

Jiro is a color mark?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pokerguy365

I was wondering if it'd be incorrect to interpret this as "Right". Not in Duolingo, but when speaking with someone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stardust-fae

Not necessarily, from what I've read elsewhere. This is more like the 'yes' that English-speaking people tend to say when our name is called. Ex: Person a: excuse me, (person b)? Person b: はい ? (Yes?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theory

I like to think of it as an acknowledgement, typically affirmative or customary, and it can be used to agree with a sentiment even in the negative sense. Hence, it can work in the same fashion as "correct" or "right" being used to confirm that you heard, understand, and accept what is being said. This one is particularly easy to forget all of the different uses. It's really flexible. The same word can be used by a salary worker while being berated by their supervisor for a mistake (respectful acknowledgement) or a child bemoaning the chores their parent is assigning them (whining up a storm) or anyone responding to their name being called. It's like a mashup of yes, right, fine, and acknowledging noises. Tone and context would determine the most appropriate translation, but "yes" and agreement are good defaults to assume. It's one of those words where if you hear it in context, its meaning and utility is obvious. The grammar around it may be confusing and headache-inducing, but はい always makes sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stardust-fae

From what I read in another section further along, this is more like the 'yes' that English-speaking people tend to say when our name is called. Ex: Person a: excuse me, (person b)? Person b: はい ? (Yes?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/syedyahya11

Why sometimes wa is pronounced as ha


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew-Lin

No, は is usually pronounced as "ha". It only pronounced as "wa" when it is a "topic marker" (don't worry if you don't understand this grammatical topic now). The Hiragana course pronounced it as "wa" but actually this is inappropriate. It should pronounced as "ha."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/englishaussie

I know what 'yes' is in Japanese due to watching TV, but say the world was 'beach' or 'map' id have no idea. So how would i choose the correct word from the list if there's no chance of knowing the translation, even after sounding it out my choice would only be a guess?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CassioHenr934834

When a new word comes up, the tells you what it means


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

Right. All new words are in orange. All orange words need to be peeked at. You have to do that. That is how you learn what they mean. And whenever I have to peek I intentionally add a wrong character so I will be shown the problem again.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

And always make a new vocabulary list in a notebook, to memorize them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannah803

Why is this 'yes'? On a different website 'yes' was 'ee' in japanese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithWong9

ええ is a casual form of はい


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithWong9

Yes you may say that. I would translate either a yes or yeah for ええ and I think the casualness is somewhere between them. There is another version うん which should match more to yeah though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shamisensation

はい is quite formal, people' d usually use ええ, except when maybe talking to their boss or when called by others (not over the phone).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anaheim22

Hai mean's 'I'm satisfied', doesn't it? You can use it as yes, but also as no.

"Was the meal to your liking?"
"Hai." (I'm satisfied. i.e. yes)

"Would you like some more?" "Hai." (I'm satisfied. i.e. no)

????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithWong9

It does not mean I am satisfied, but it can mean no.

"Is it not enough?"

"hai" (means no, it is not enough)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

I'd say it still kind of means yes there, though: "Yes, it isn't enough." [2019/03/22]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

Is it like the "si" in French?

I don't understand when it means" no", is it with negative questions?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeithWong9

Yes it is like "si" in French. (affirming a negative question)

So はい is used for affirming either a positive or negative question. English "yes" is affirming a positive question but rejecting a negative question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatalieHelg

When I hear the は character alone, it sounds like "va", but in words it sounds like "ha". Am I hearing it wrong? Is there some quirk behind it that I'm not getting?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasHanse310125

It has been explained close to the top comments, but my understanding is that it is normaly supposed to be ha, and only wa when used as a topic marker. So it is a mistake on duolingos part, that it is being pronounced as wa when standing alone. Plz correct me if Im wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cheyann78

It says it translates to "lungs"??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

Japanese has a very small syllabary and is full of homophones.
In this context best to stick with a simple "yes" translation, but there are many words with this same pronunciation that you would have to determine based on the context they are used in or the kanji they are written with.
肺 "hai" means "lung(s)"
灰 "hai" means "ash"
杯 "hai" means "sake cup"
胚 "hai" means "embryo"
敗 "hai" means "loss/defeat"
牌 "hai" means "medal/shield/badge"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PERCE_NEIGE

Do they play with the sounds and meanings?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theory

Not the language itself, but Japanese stories (pick your medium of choice) often include nods to alternative interpretation. Since many folks enjoy a good manga or anime series, myself included, a closer look at the fictional character/town/school name can reveal clever or obvious wordplay. Shiro from No Game No Life has white hair, and when combined with her brother's name, Sora, you can form blank which is the pair's actual nickname/alias used for games. Some others I can think of either require a lot of explanation or reach into spoiler territory, sorry. But there can be real life situations as well. Consider someone named Yuki who writes their name as snow - they will probably get a chuckle from their peers if they say they hate snowy weather.

It's kind of a universal thing, regardless of language. I know a Rose who is quite thorny without her morning coffee. My state name is a combination of Louis & Ann(e), and some couples sharing those names occasionally travel to the deep south just so they can get engaged or have a wedding in the state with their names in union. Sidenote: That's sweet and all, but the heat & humidity are terrible for the uninitiated. You'll eat the best damn seafood of your life, but you'll be sweating buckets from the climate (and Cajun spices in the jambalaya). Speaking of heat, know anyone with the name Summer who likes feeling warm? Maybe the same could apply to Natsu from Fairy Tail.

The intentional or accidental puns are abundant, especially because of the many overlapping syllabaries and with all of the kanji combination and alternative readings. The Japanese culture is rich with recognizing meaning beyond literal definition as well. Forgot where I learned it, but the kanji for people 人 resembles two people back-to-back leaning on each other for support. Can't unsee it, and it's seared into my mind. I'm not sure if this kinda thing is taught in school or if it arises from word of mouth. It's just one of the neat parts of Japan that I admire.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shanard3

Shouldn't it accept yes/ok


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

"yes" and "ok" should and are accepted, Duo's system doesn't consider punctuation in its grading though and "yesok" isn't a word


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnilBharadia

Looks approx. similar to Gujarati word "Ha"(હા), which means 'Yes'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maia360

That form of yes is actually only used to agree, not simply a general "yes".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heypano

People who have lived in Japan: Is it true that 「はい」has an alternate use for "here's 2000 yen", when paying someone for goods or services? Like 「はいニ千円です」or something?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew1711

Why does the first syllable "ha" sound like it's saying "wa" when you listen to it separately from the "i" It's rather confusing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EthanBosse

It’s because it used to be pronounced ha but as a particle it slowly began to sound like wa over a long process of Japanese history it can be confusing at first but just remember it should be remembered as ha but is pronounced as wa most of the time. :) good luck and keep learning man


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

Actually, it isn't pronounced as wa most of time. It's only pronounced that way as a particle, which for others is a grammar point taught in a lesson or two. Take a look:

ごはんはたべません。
gohan wa tabemasen.

Here, the first は is pronounced as normal because it's part of a word, while the second は is pronounced wa since it marks the topic. This is easier to see with kanji:

ご飯は食べません。
gohan wa tabemasen.

Here, it's a lot more obvious how to pronounce it since the first は is represented in 飯, while the second は is left to stand alone. Plus, wa has it's own kana わ otherwise, as in 私 (わたし).

And for those who understood my example sentence, I know it's absurd and preposterous as a Japanese phrase :p [2019/03/22]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rinchamaa

Another way of saying yes in a more casual setting would be うん/un not to be mistaken for うんん which is no.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/koreandudeFAM

So it sounds like "wa" alone but becomes "ha" sound when put together with other letters and become a word?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

Yes and no
This has been answered a few times on this discussion
は in/as a word is pronounced as its standard "ha" reading, but when used as a Topic Particle in a sentence it takes on a "wa" reading.
Most often you'll see it by itself as the topic particle "wa", but "ha" by itself can also be a word meaning "tooth", "leaf" or "edge". You'll most always see these words in their kanji form however to avoid confusion. Since you'll probably learn the vocab and how its spelled before the kanji though this is good to remember. It has confused many new learners when hovering over parts of a sentence and seeing the word "tooth" show up as a hint where it should actually be the topic marker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsacAndrade

は may sound like "ha" or "wa".. How do you know when it will be "wa" or "ha"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maia360

It is pronounced as wa when it is used as a particle or at the end of a word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jared835318

So should I be hearing this sound as は + い? Or do the two vowel sounds essentially form a singular "ai" as in english?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RulingMusic

Could it also be used in general to agree. Like how we use: okay, of course, sure, you bet, yeah, etc?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theory

Mostly yes, but it's just slightly different from outright agreement, where you share the same same feeling. It's a bit more like accepting the sentiment being shared with you. For foreigners, you'll be understood just fine if you answer はい in the affirmative because it's so technically similar to our yes. Yet there are maaany ways to confirm that you understand, that you agree, or that everything said is correct, and some may fit better with certain contexts / familiarity. You have to make a mental note of how some terms are typically used, including affirming answers.

Like, take English. If someone you're dating asks you, "Do you love me?" they might be a little disappointed if you answer, "Okay." Very similar meaning to yes but there's some important nuance. Gotta expose yourself to a bunch of dialogue in different scenarios until responses feel natural. Duo's pretty good for that, but also listen to interviews and random clips / YouTube videos to get a better grasp of common terms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KirkBL

I might be missing something, but I don't think this was introduced before asking to write this in English? The only reason I knew the answer was because of hearing Japanese outside of Duo Lingo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

"Yes/no" are introduced in the Tips and Notes for this skill
https://preview.duolingo.com/skill/ja/Questions/tips-and-notes
You can also hover over any word in a sentence to see a translation hint


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sujinssi_007

Yeah is also accepted

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